Written by Gregg Paul
Most people think of retirement when you get to be 64 years of age. Most people that age do not compete against people young enough to be their children or even grand children for that matter. Sponsors have a tendency to go with youth over experience and they say “It’s a young man’s game.”
Despite not having won a feature since 2007, and only running a limited schedule, Al Schill, who is a youthful 64 years of age, proved that experience can still compete with youth, as he captured the win in the Harley Davidson 60 at the Slinger Super Speedway Sunday night.
“It’s been a few years, I think since ’08 since I won one,” said Schill in Victory Lane. “Last night my buddy Ted Dolhun won one at Plymouth, the first time in nine years. He’s 64 years old, and I’m 64 so I’m gonna celebrate tomorrow night at the radio show.”
He is referring to his scheduled appearance on the Racing Round-up radio show, and winning the feature should make for a much more exciting show.
Mike Egan and Conrad Morgan paced the field of 18 cars to the green flag, with Egan gaining the advantage on lap 3. Egan worked the inside to get around Morgan while Schill ducked under Dennis Prunty to take over third. Morgan got stuck on the high side, as the inside line slowly made its way around, hanging him out to dry.
Egan would pace the field until the yellow flew on lap 11 when leaking fluid from the car of Steve Apel wreaked havoc for a number of cars.
Once the race resumed, Schill would get by Egan on the high side of turn two, when Egan got loose entering the corner. Schill would slowly pull away and build a lead of several car lengths.
As Schill and Egan stretched out their advantage, Bennett worked his way around the high side to gain spots and close in on the lead. He worked his way up to third place by lap 34, passing 6 cars on the outside to get there.
Schill was able to use the slower traffic to his advantage like only a veteran could, and stretched his lead. Egan closed the gap to a few car lengths, but Schill masterfully worked by the traffic and was able to maintain his lead.
Late in the going, Schill approached a pack of slower cars running side by side two deep. Ordinarily on the high banks of Slinger that would spell instant doom. However, as Schill approached them, they seemed to adhere to the flagman’s warnings and get out of the way. Something that many at the track have not had happen for them this season.
The crafty veteran maneuvered through traffic with skillful precision and was able to hold off the charging Bennett by several car lengths. The win was Schill’s first feature win since 2007, and showed the old man could still get it done.
“The traffic moved over pretty nice tonight, not like at the Nationals,” said Schill.
With the traffic cooperating, Schill was able to hold off Bennett and take the checkers by half a straightaway. Mike Egan held on to finish third with Conrad Morgan taking fourth. Dennis Prunty wound up in fifth.
“The car was working good,” said Schill. “I was hoping for no yellows, once you get out front doing your thing looking in the mirror and seeing someone follow you. Makes you feel a little better.”
As for the traffic issues, Schill seemed content with the way things played out.
Bennett, who came from way back in the pack to finish second, had nothing but praise for finishing second to Schill.
“We’ll take a second place and be pretty happy with it,” said Bennett. “The lapped guys got down pretty well. You know, what are you going to do when there is a limited amount of cars and the way the economy is guys have a hard time running every single week. A lot of us have lost sponsors and it makes it a little difficult. If I couldn’t have won that, and I saw Al up there and he hasn’t had a win this year and I thought it would just be awesome for Al. I always kid him and I said this….he’s 60-some years old and I’m glad when he can win ‘cause it shows me when I am 60 some years old I’ll still be able to win.”
Despite the obvious age difference, Al Schill proved he is still a force to be reckoned with.
Dave McArdle used his front row starting spot to his advantage and held on to win the Late Model feature in a close finish over Ryan DeStefano.
McArdle got the jump from his outside front row starting position when Brad Keith got loose off turn one. Once he got into the lead, McArdle was able to stretch his lead a bit.
Ryan DeStefano was on McArdle’s bumper throughout the event, but could never seem to make a move to pass. DeStefano would get into the rear bumper of McArdle, but never mount a charge until the last lap. He would bump McArdle, but never make a serious threat to over take him.
Chris Blawat would wind up in third place with Steven Schulz in fourth. Jake Vanoskey rounded out the top five.
Dave Thomas picked up his fourth feature win of the season in the Mid-American Sportsman series taking the checkers after a hard fought battle with Mike Borchardt Jr.
Thomas and Borchardt Jr. battled over most of the 30 lap feature once they got to the front. The two would stretch their lead only to have the field bunched back up after a spin by Austin Luedtke. With Luedtke blocking the track, Tony Sancinnati had nowhere to go and plowed into Luedtke’s stalled car bringing out the yellow on lap 26.
As the green flag flew, Borchardt Jr, spun his tires allowing Thomas to gain the lead and open up a little daylight between them. Brian Holtz jumped into the small opening and got inside Borchardt Jr. to take over second place. As Borchardt Jr. began to slip back, Jay Shambeau made his presence felt and made a strong run at third place, but to no avail. Tom Elsinger wound up finishing fifth.
Al Stippich returned to his winning ways in the Thunderstock division when he held off the valiant effort of Stephanie Losiniecki to take the checkers. Stippich, who earlier took out Losiniecki in the fast dash, had to hold onto dear life to ensure this victory.
Losiniecki, thinking of payback, dove inside Stippich in turn three coming to the checkers and nearly pulled off the pass. However, Stippich had just enough momentum on the high side to hold her off for the win.
Aaron Cain, Bernie Leonard and, Eric Welter rounded out the top five.
Katie DeStefano found herself in Victory Lane after an impressive run in the Slinger Bees 4-cylinder division. DeStefano grabbed the lead on lap 3 and almost ran away from the field. Joe Lang and Eric Long made a valiant run at catching DeStefano, but she was able to persevere and hang on for the win.
Alex Prunty and Carl Benn rounded out the top five.
Scott Goetzke picked up his sixth win of the season in the Figure 8 division.
Jeff Vail took home the checkers in the Speedway Guest Cars, and Russ Lorbecki captured the Spectator Eliminators.
This article was posted to the website on July 27th, 2009